FDMC Best Pratices in Woodworking Technology and Business

Lamello Top 21 biscuit joiner

William Sampson, will.sampson@ccimedia.net

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When the inventor of biscuit joinery comes out with a new biscuit joiner, it’s all about precision. Lamello, the Swiss company that first developed biscuit joiner in the 1950s, has launched the new Top 21 joiner with some significant improvements all founded on working more precisely and efficiently.

What’s new? 

New features of the Top 21 machine start with a swiveling front stop and front stop square machined flush on both sides to work with the flush-side base plate to align to a side of a workpiece or fence or in tight corners. A stop square slides into either the base or fence to provide more precise alignment options, including solid positioning on 45-degree miters.

The fences all lock with the standard quick-action lever bolts, and measuring scales have been all located on the same side of the machine for fast adjustments. All the workpiece bearing surfaces are precision machined for perfect alignment.

A large knob on the top of the machine allows adjusting the height of the cutter for accurate alignment to the center of a workpiece. Other controls are clear simple and straightforward, like the simple knob to change different biscuit sizes.

How it works 

Another new feature of the Top 21 is the 800-watt electronically controlled soft start motor. Both the power and soft start are welcome improvements to make cutting slots sure and easy without the sideways kick you frequently experience with other joiners. There are only two rubber anti-slip buttons, one on either side of the blade, but they are plenty to keep the unit secure against the workpiece.

There are multiple options for dust collection: a cloth dust bag, a side draft port, and a port to mount a vacuum hose, which is what I prefer.

Overall, when using the Lamello Top 21, I just keep coming back to the concept of Swiss precision. The fit and finish of everything is flawless, and the solid, no-slop feel of the plunge action is so much smoother many other biscuit joiners, that you can’t help but feel you can do better work with this tool. And it all packs into an elegant wood carrying case. Of course, you pay for all of this precision with a price tag of nearly $1,100. But have any of us ever regretted buying a better tool. For more information, go to www.csaw.com.

December 2011

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